(Warning–this is very much a TMI post related to my travails of being a middle aged woman. Proceed with caution if you are squeamish about how bodies, er, function/disfunction.)
Got my period this morning and I felt like George Bailey. Made me realize that It’s a Wonderful Life is not a story of crushed dreams, drunk uncles, blustering speeches, and the horrors of high density neighborhoods with neon saturated main streets.* No, it’s an allegory for perimenopause.
In addition to over-sharing about my symptoms on social media, I have been writing haiku about this stage of life. Most of these are from yesterday. Today’s hormone-induced glee and energy inspired me to bring this cycle to a close.*
Sixty plus days
Desperate to bleed
This was the longest stretch between periods I’ve had so far. While that might seem like a positive, for me it just means more time trapped in crabbiness and bloat. Kinda like George being stuck in Bedford Falls?
Missed cycles, more pounds
Peeing on a stick, all clear!
Relieved. Just pudgy.
Remember George’s panic when he found out another baby was on the way? It’s so weird to be pushing 50 and heading to the disproportionately pink section of Walgreens to grab pregnancy tests.
Distracted by work
Weak bladder, emerging-pee
OK, the movie doesn’t say whether George experienced middle aged incontinence, but I bet the director’s cut includes him peeing on the tree he crashed into after his bender.*
Hark! Sore boobs and zits!
The period advance guard
Symptoms I now cheer.
Yesterday morning, when I told Michael about the stabbing pain in my right breast, he expressed concern. I replied: “No, this is good news! Maybe this means my period is coming!” I felt my chin and my smile broadened, though somewhat painfully. I can’t believe I am now delighted when my cystic acne flares. Just like when George realizes his face isn’t cut anymore, but the other way around, I guess.
Lost my shit last night
Barked at the whole family
I blame the hormones
For the most part, I am patient and conflict averse–for better and worse. But I was a bear yesterday. Spent dinner apologizing to my family, including Brandon’s girlfriend who is one of the most kind and polite people I have ever met. This reminded me of some of George’s temper tantrums. Here he is yelling at the kids after yelling at the teacher and then apologizing to the family and then yelling again when they are frozen in shock at his behavior. Well, at least I didn’t kick anything last night. It’s funny how It’s a Wonderful Life is considered such a feel good movie. There are other scenes where George is a real ass. But, if we look at his behavior through a menstrual cycle lens. . . hmmm.
I despair and shake my fist
I love watching Jimmy Stewart in action. He clearly knows how low estrogen feels.
New day. Is that the sun?
Dash to the bathroom with hope.
My blues/rage/zit/bloat/give me all the chocolate stage used to peak (or valley?) on the 21st day of my cycle. Sobbing at a commercial? Day 21. Squeezing out the last drops of face spackle because I am such a picker? Day 21. Journaling about what a wretched person I am? I wonder what day it is. Ah, of course. Over time I became attuned to other shifts. Mood plummets after ovulation and surges at the start of a cycle. Then I am energized but also cold. Towards the end, my breasts hurt, my stomach gurgles, and my bowels? I’m glad we have bathroom fans and a steady supply of toilet paper. Maybe this is TMI but I wish I had better understood these permutations when I was younger. And just when I thought I had it all figured out, “The Change” hit. Now I can’t predict anything. Oh well. But I take amused solace that this week the signs were loud and clear. Onward!
*Some problematic messages aside, I am still a sucker for this movie. Cry every time.
*I was also inspired by my favorite writer’s return to blogging. Do you know what all those buttons on your microwave are for? We have missed you, Clare!
*Worry not, I am definitely not spending time in the Depends section of Walgreens either. I just tend to pee-crastinate.